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Do you know any "natural" Objectivists?

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I realize this post has not been active for some time, but I would like to add, regarding Rand's influences that H.L. Mencken may have played a significant role. She was familiar with him prior to any of her publishing if I remember correctly. I believe there were a couple letters to him in "letters" which would confirm this notion. For those who are not familiar with him, he was a journalist writing in the US from approx. 1900 to 1950. Strong advocate of individualism and reason. Many, many parrellels to objectivism Just a bit more nietchean and negative in tone.

I read him some years before discovering Rand, so reading objectivist philosophy was a bit redundent in some ways for me. Of course, a great deal more material is available in objectivism and as a result it is more fleshed out as a philosophy, which is a great value. Mencken on the other hand wrote primarily newspaper articles with reference to current events of his time.

At any rate, I think rands greatest achievement philosophically is one of integration. Most of the ideas in objectivism have been around for a long time. Aristotle, aquinas, thomas jefferson, nietche, all promoted many great ideas central to objectivism. Problem was that they also promoted ideas which were not as beneficial from aristotles defense of slavery to nietches rampant emotionalism. That being said, I am quite sure someone with a mind tied to reality could read these people and siphon through the most of it and come to many of the same notions. I don't think that most could do it as precisely and consistently as rand did.

I was raised by a father that was self-employed and learned 1st and 2nd hand from a very young age that government was almost entirely useless and a complete stifle on achievment and productivity. It was easy to come off of that into a political view that was libertarian in nature(small L). In the same way, it was easy to move from reading aristotle, nietche, and mencken to Rand. When I found Rand about 10 years ago, it was that same "well, duh" feeling. But I don't think that qualifies me as a "natural born objectivist". In fact, I would say that there could be no such thing, Rand included. Your personality and beliefs develop primarily(though certainly not completely) over the course of 20 years. To say I was an objectivist when I was 4 or 8 even is, to me, rediculous. There hardly exists a concept of self, as such, at that point. I would suggest that earlier influences could lead to positions consistent with rands which would make it feel more familiar with some then others, but i reject the notion of it being natural in the sense of a fully worked out philosophy. "Shoulders of giants" and all.

The only way I can consider it natural is that it is consistent with reality. To the extent that a philosophy or idea is consistent with reality, it should be able to be induced from reality. But a human lifetime is not enough time to induce an entirely consistent philosophy from scratch, which is what would be required to be a "natural". Despite the fact that rand only gives credit to aristotle as an influence, I find it extraordinarily hard to believe that the other philosophers(and journalists) she read did not have an influence.

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I consider myself a natural Objectivist, in the sense that I lived by the essentials of Objectivism well before ever reading any of Ayn Rand's work or any philosophy at all for that matter. In essence:

1. I had firmly established the primacy of existence and it's corollaries such as causality

2. I had pretty good epistemology: not entertaining the arbitrary and not doubting the contextually proven

3. I had good ethics: judging people (at all, which is frowned uppon), judging people by their choices and not by things beyond their control or knowlege, judging "good" or "bad" based on the use of force against others (which is not going so far as to independently have explicit understanding of the life standard, and leaves open the door to hedonism and other self destuctive behavior)

I discovered Objectivism about a year ago. Ayn Rand's work has established explicitly to me that which already was my own implicit philosophy and brought to light several consequences that I had not grasped. It also gave me the *certainty* that the philosophy I live by is *true*.

I was raised in a deeply religious family, holding firm altruist convictions (and the ensuing contradictions). At 15 I had quit the church (my relationship to reality made me sure that was nonsense, my honesty wouldn't let me go on as a farce). At 20 I already held the principles I listed above, at 25 I discovered Objectivism.

mrocktor

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I would consider my wife and myself "natural" Objectivists as well. I discovered Objectivism in college, and already agreed with most of the basic ideas. My wife has never read any Objectivist works, yet generally comes to the "right" conclusion on most issues by herself. I don't think its really that unusual.

At any rate, I think rands greatest achievement philosophically is one of integration. Most of the ideas in objectivism have been around for a long time. Aristotle, aquinas, thomas jefferson, nietche, all promoted many great ideas central to objectivism. Problem was that they also promoted ideas which were not as beneficial from aristotles defense of slavery to nietches rampant emotionalism. That being said, I am quite sure someone with a mind tied to reality could read these people and siphon through the most of it and come to many of the same notions. I don't think that most could do it as precisely and consistently as rand did.

Agree. Don't forget John Locke as well! Objectivism did not spring out of nowhere; it is part of the general pro-reason "classical liberal" trend in western culture. Ayn Rand did add many new ideas of course, and tie things together, but foundation was already there.

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I suspect we may be operating on different definitions for the word natural. By natural, I'm thinking genetic. I suspect you are meaning knowledge gained prior to objectivism which was consistent with it. I don't deny that as possible. That was what I was getting at in the last paragraph. Because objectivism is consistent with reality, anyone who honestly considers reality ought to come to the same conclusions about it.

This reminds me of something an ex girl friend of mine said. That she has met 2 different types of objectivists. the "oh my god, atlas shrugged changed my life" types and the "i'm glad she wrote all that....saved me the trouble" types. Not sure if it's an accurate split. I would guess there are many border line cases but i did think it a clever way of putting it.

Best Regards,

Gordon

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I'm not thinking "genetic" and I don't think anyone else here is. I'm thinking your second meaning. The core ideas of Objectivism already exist in Western culture; it's not surprising that many people learn them from parents, books, etc. before seeing them in Objectivist literature.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I would say that men are born as individuals and are perverted into collectivists.

In any case, being an Objectivist is natural no matter who you are. No person is born more of an individual than another. It is merely a case of reclaiming what's been taken from you by the false moral assertions of society. Wonder why people tend to say "I felt like this once, as a child?" or, "I had bigger dreams, as I child, but I grew less passionate about them;" in essence: less selfish? Why? Because that word, selfish, has been mistreated and misinterpreted. Objectivism IS the only and natural mode of thinking for man because it works with his the best of him rather than against the best of him. It is something Ayn Rand helps us to realise that we own: ourselves.

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Haha. Yes of course. Some people arrive to the conclusions some have arrived to through rand on their own. I'd say rand hastened some decisions I would've made eventually by showing me a few pieces of information. I'd say that some of my ideas came from rand, but know realistically I would've arrived at these in time at any rate, it probobly would've just taken a bit longer to define these things and make a solid morality out of them.

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